This month at Postconsumers, we’re shining the lighting on some activities, hobbies, niches or even social norms that happen to be ridden with consumerism but they are often regarded as being postconsumer alternatives. Today, we’re tackling what might be the most ubiquitous presence in numerous people’s lives, social networking. You probably think of social media as a way to connect to and stay-in-touch with your friends and family, a method to keep up-to-date on topics and groups that you simply care about and maybe even ways to meet new people. And whenever used for good, social websites does all those things. But there is also a hidden … rather than so hidden … strain of consumerism in Real Stew ltd.
Dependant upon your actual age, you’ve probably experienced the next cycle at least once and maybe several (or perhaps often). A social network launches. You can find no ads, and it is glorious and also you spend your time on there conversing with people appealing or considering fascinating (or otherwise mildly interesting) things. Then, eventually, the social networking must make some money. By that period, you’ve developed your network and grow committed to the website itself, so you’re unlikely to entirely flee. Then, suddenly, you locate your homepage or feed or stream cluttered with ads for things that you might or might not want but usually don’t need. Social networking is one of the shopping mall from the present era, but unlike most malls you don’t necessarily get the choice of which stores you need to walk into. Would you know which you wished to transform your Instagram photos to magnets? We’re guessing which you didn’t – until a social websites ad informed you that you simply supposedly did!
The bait and switch with advertisements of all social networking sites is regarded as the obvious manner in which consumerism is worked into the model, but it’s not the most insidious way.
The thing that makes a social media marketing network this sort of target-rich environment for advertisers is the quantity of data that they could drill through as a way to place their ads directly before the people who are almost certainly to respond to them. By “the level of data they can drill through” we mean “the level of data that users provide and therefore the social media network shares with advertisers.” Now, being perfectly clear, a web site sharing user data with advertisers to be able to help them optimize their marketing campaigns is by no means a novice to social media and a lot users never recognize that using a site or creating a merchant account on the site they are by default allowing their data to get shared (it’s typically mentioned in very, small print inside the conditions and terms that nobody ever reads). But what makes it more insidious whenever a social media does it?
The particular data that you’re sharing on the social networking and that the social network is sharing with advertisers is simply much more intimate. Social media sites share your interests (both stated and based on other stuff which you post). Would you become pregnant recently? You don’t need to share it with advertisers, you need to simply post regarding it over a social network where you might want to share it with your friends and relations and also the social network’s smart computer brain knows to share with advertisers to get started on showing you diapers. Have you go to a website that sells hammers recently? Your social media is aware that dexspky04 an operation called retargeting, and from now on you’re planning to see ads from that website advertising that very product inside an effort (usually highly successful) to help you get to purchase it. So while data sharing is regarded as the insidious way in which social media sites implement consumerism, it’s actually not by far the most damaging.
At Postconsumers, one of the problems that we work the hardest to take to people’s attention is the fact that the thing that makes addictive consumerism so dangerous is the way, at this point, it’s interwoven with everyday living, society and even personal identity. That’s what’s so dangerous concerning the consumer part of social websites. Social websites is really a lifestyle tool to enable you to express yourself and communicate with others, yet it’s absolutely accepted that woven to the fabric of that experience is consumerism. In reality, the practice of social media marketing depends on that. It’s assumed that folks will treat brands as “people” and like, follow and connect to them. Just like the backlash against Mitt Romney’s assertion that corporations are people, too, the same is true of any brand on a social media site. Yet, the charge of customer service or sales representatives who manage social media presence for a business or brand is to speak with the buyers or brand advocates as though the brand were a person. This fine line between the way you get in touch with actual living people on social websites and brands, products or companies is so fine which you often forget there is a difference. And that is certainly an unsafe blending of life and consumerism.
Social media also relies on a “follow the herd” mentality, assuming that those seemingly nearest you (your social media friends and contacts) can more efficiently influence you to definitely buy, try or support a brand, company or product. That’s why almost all social media campaigns are created to encourage people to share specifics of brands, products or companies on the social media. If you notice people who you know and trust endorsing a consumer element, you are more likely to communicate with and, ultimately, put money into that element. It’s by far the most virtual kind of pressure from peers or “keeping track of the joneses.” And also since people spend a great deal time on certain social networks, it features a significant cumulative impact.
So, next time you believe you will be harmlessly updating your status to your friends, think about simply how much your social networking activity is facilitating the intrusion of the consumer machine. Then improve your status about this!